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Choosing the Right Journal - Factors to Consider About Journals

Installment three of our blog series on choosing the right journal, covers the factors you need to consider about journals. Every week we will discuss a different aspect of selecting the best journal for your manuscript.


It is currently estimated that there are over 40,000 journals across publishers and disciplines to choose from. The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) lists almost 10,000 Open Access journals alone. For those of you interested in journals indexed by Science Citation Index Expanded, you have over 8600 journals to choose from. Although there are several free online tools that you can use to help narrow down which journals may be suitable for your current manuscript, you still need to carefully evaluate each journal to choose the most suitable journal. Remember, you can only submit to one journal at a time—so make sure it is the best one!


Factors to consider about journals

So what should you actually be evaluating when you consider different journals? There are a number of relevant factors:

  1. Aims and scope: be sure that the journal is publishing research similar to that of your manuscript
  2. Readership: be sure that the target audience you are trying to reach make up part of the readership of the journal
  3. Indexing: to increase the visibility of your article online, be sure that the journal is indexed in the online databases that your target audience will use to find articles
  4. Open access: to increase the accessibility of your article, consider publishing in an open access journal. This will ensure that your target audience will have access to your article worldwide
  5. Publishing frequency: if you want to publish your findings quickly, you should choose a journal with a high publication frequency (e.g., weekly rather than quarterly)
  6. Impact factor: journals with higher impact factors often have more visibility in the field, which can then increase your article’s visibility as well. Further, funding agencies and university committees often use the impact factor of the journals you publish in as a measure of your success as a researcher in your field. So if you can publish in a higher impact factor journal, it may be more advantageous.


Once you have a list of potential journals, you can use these additional tips to help identify the most suitable journal:


Identify the interests of the journal editor. Just because your manuscript may be similar in scope to the journal, it does not mean that the journal editor is currently interested in your topic. 

  • Check when similar articles were published in the journal. If similar articles have been published within the last 2‒3 years, this may suggest that the journal editor is likely currently interested in your topic.
  • Look at recently published Editorials, Review Articles, and Special Issues. These are usually about topics the journal editor feels are currently important for the field. If you find that your manuscript is similar in scope to those that have been published by one of your potential journals, this may suggest that the journal editor will likely consider your research topic also important.


Identify the interests of the readers. Your goal is not only to be published, but also to be widely read in your field.

  • Review the “Most Downloaded” or “Most Cited” lists from your potential journals. If you find that your manuscript is similar in scope to articles in this list from one of your potential journals, this may suggest that if you published in this journal, your article may also be widely read as well.